By Bob Uphues
Fire gutted a North Riverside home on the afternoon of Aug. 12, and investigators are still trying to determine exactly how it started.
According to North Riverside Fire Chief Brian Basek, just one person was at the home at 2411 9th Ave. at about 2:05 p.m. when he saw the rear deck of the home ablaze. The resident grabbed a pet and fled the home before calling 911.
When firefighters arrived, said Basek, they observed the rear deck to be aflame. The fire also had traveled into the rear of the home into both the first and second floors.
A short video of the fire taken from a nearby yard by a resident and shared with the Landmark shows the back deck completely engulfed in flames.
Two teams of firefighters, one in the front and one in the back were able to extinguish the fire within 15 to 20 minutes, said Basek. In addition to North Riverside, firefighters from Broadview, Forest Park and Berwyn responded to the alarm.
Basek confirmed that the origin of the fire was on the rear deck, but the cause of the fire was still under investigation as of Monday afternoon. The fire chief said Monday it was still unknown whether or not the fire was related to a grill or cooking out on the back deck.
North Riverside fire investigators were being assisted by investigators from MABAS Division 11, of which the village is a part.
The house sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage and is uninhabitable. With the family displaced, a Gofundme page has been created to help them.
"Almost everything was destroyed in the fire and while we can't replace the priceless photos and memories, we can still do our best to contribute in any way we can," wrote Riverside resident Alex Hamer, who started the page, which seeks to raise $10,000.
As of Monday afternoon, the effort had raised more than $2,300.
This story has been changed to include a high-resolution version of the fire video, which was supplied by the resident who took it.